Fridays Unleashed 4-17-2015

WARBEASTS.

Fearsome monsters made all the deadlier by the psychic bond they share to their warlocks, the flesh and sinew counterpart to the steam and steel of warjacks, warbeasts are an integral part of the dominant cultures of the wilderness in Iron Kingdoms Unleashed.

Last week we talked a bit about the two razor boars Morrg commands in the Unleashed Adventure Kit and about how a warlock might go out hunting for his own specimens to turn into warbeasts. While that’s one way to inject a bit of personal style and character into warbeasts, Iron Kingdoms Unleashed: Core Rules contains a number of other avenues that allow a player to customize the warbeasts his character controls.

Although warbeasts are as important to the cultures of the wilds as warjacks are to the nation of the Iron Kingdoms, the beasts don’t roll off the factory line complete and ready to go. Each one must undergo a prolonged conditioning and training period before being taken into battle, to acclimate to its warlock and learn how to fight with the weapons it needs and wear any armor it requires. Only after this training period does the warbeast reach its full potential and unlock the potent arcane power dormant within it—its animus.

Development doesn’t end when this conditioning is complete. In Full Metal Fantasy a warcaster can purchase an upgrade or new cortex to improve his warjacks. Warlocks don’t have this luxury, so warlocks take their warbeasts out hunting and fighting to teach them new skills and improve their combat prowess.

A warbeast develops alongside its warlock. The longer the two are bonded and fight together, the more the warbeast learns and improves. These improvements can take numerous different shapes, such as learning how to use a new weapon, becoming more proficient at ranged or melee combat, improving certain skills, and gaining a behavior. Behaviors function like the warjack Bonds in Iron Kingdoms Full Metal Fantasy. Each behavior confers a potent benefit to the warbeast, ranging from regaining vitality from living foes it devours in combat to undergoing an arcane awakening that allows it to tap into its animus without cost.

There’s a wide array of warbeasts in the core rules, a number of creature templates that can modify those beasts, and many changes a warbeast can undergo through gaining improvements like a behavior. Through these adjustments, each warbeast in your games will become a unique individual, shaped by the tests and trials endured throughout the adventure.

Check back next Friday for another Fridays Unleashed, and get ready for the release of the Iron Kingdoms Unleashed: Core Rules April 22! Preorder from your local retailer now and get a free digital copy!